Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

Beware of Snap Polls

Posted Oct 02, 2008 at 3:42 PM by Maurice Berger

Several snap polls released within the hour suggest Biden won tonight's debate. CNN, for example: 51% Biden/36% Palin. But on another key barometer--on who is the more typical politician--Biden is viewed more negatively, by a wide margin. PollTrack suggests taking these polls with a grain of salt. For one, they are registering an instantaneous reaction to a complicated news event. Since they only include responses from voters who say they actually watched the debate, these surveys may skew with regard to party affiliation (Indeed, John King of CNN reported that debate watchers were disproportionately Democratic.) Chances are this evening's debate will not alter the general dynamics of the race. But whether it does or not, snap polls will do little to clarify the effect of this event on public opinion.